Refuges of Lies
Isaiah 28:14-22
Why hear the word of the LORD, you scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.…

Let us assemble in classes the excuses of a score or more of people who have told me frankly why they had decided not to become Christians.

1. First of all, is a class who excuse themselves because the Church has stood for bigotry, narrowness, and cruelty. It is said that in all ages the Church has included hypocrites among its members. But can anything be more unfair than these excuses? Granted that Peter cursed and denied with vulgar oaths his Master, what has that to do with the beauty of Christ's character or the claim of His kingdom upon your life? Confessedly, John Calvin was simply an organised syllogism, an animated argument, bloodless as a stone. Even if he did play the traitor like Peter, and refuse to forgive his enemy and forgot the God who makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, how does his recreancy make right yours? Here is the world of business and commerce. Tomorrow merchants will adulterate their goods, traders will tamper with the weights, clerks will steal money from the bank, assistants will rob their employers. Since you do not care to associate with hypocrites, withdraw tomorrow morning from business. Give up all physicians, because some are quacks. Draw down the shades over your windows, because there are spots on the sun; and give up the summer, because there are stormy days in July; and give up the fruits, because there are blemishes on the apples.

2. There is another class that emphasise the uncertainty and disagreements concerning Christianity. Since it is all so hazy, and at best only a probability, they are unwilling to commit themselves to the Christian life. It is not necessary that we should understand all doctrines and the philosophy of duty, in order to fulfil the moral obligations. Life is governed by probability. There may be a thousand disagreements as to theology, but there is no disagreement as to what it is to be a Christian. We are asked to show the fruits of love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness.

3. Others there are who urge that becoming a Christian puts restraints upon the individual, narrows the range of his enjoyments, shuts up certain highways of happiness. "I want always to feel perfectly free," exclaims the youth. "I am afraid that I might find myself somewhat cabined and confined by taking upon myself these obligations." But becoming a Christian is simply to obey the laws of Christ. This objection is based upon a false theory of liberty. Liberty is obedience to law. It is sin that narrows the life. It is disobedience that cabins men and confines them; it is loyalty to God's laws that breaks down the walls, pushes back the horizons and makes the soul a citizen of the universe.

(N. D. Hillis, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.

WEB: Therefore hear the word of Yahweh, you scoffers, that rule this people in Jerusalem:

Jehovah Pronounces Judgment
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